Thursday’s 5-2 defeat of the Mets and the recovering Pedro Martinez did a little to preserve Florida’s slim chance of capturing the NL Wild Card, but there’s no hope for manager Joe Girardi, writes the Palm Beach Post’s Mike Bernadino.
On a scale of 1 to 10, Girardi’s chances of returning next year are “zero,” according to a source who has spoken with the Marlins’ front office.
“I don’t think there is any chance,” the source said.
The Marlins are already compiling information about Girardi’s successor, with a trio of third-base coaches likely to receive interviews: Fredi Gonzalez (Braves), Joey Cora (White Sox) and Manny Acta (Mets).
Other possible candidates to replace Girardi include Triple-A Albuquerque manager Dean Treanor, Japanese League manager Trey Hillman, Braves special assistant Jim Fregosi, Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo, Mets bench coach Jerry Manuel and Marlins broadcaster Cookie Rojas, although Rojas is more likely to fill a coaching role.
The last straw for Girardi, 41, apparently was his ill-fated decision to bring back prized right-hander Josh Johnson after an 82-minute rain delay at Dolphin Stadium on Sept. 12.
“Not one of the smarter moves of the year,” said the source, adding the Marlins’ decision makers were “shocked” Johnson returned to the mound that night.
With the Marlins still clinging to wild-card hopes, Johnson tried to stay loose by playing catch with Dontrelle Willis in an indoor batting cage. That Johnson left four innings later with cramping in his forearm and was subsequently shut down for the year with a strained ligament did not help Girardi’s case.
Sunday’s 10th-inning meltdown in Atlanta was another strike against Girardi, who had never managed at any level before this season. Marlins management was disappointed Girardi inserted little-used center fielder Reggie Abercrombie as a defensive replacement instead of the more polished Eric Reed.
Two Abercrombie misplays opened the door for the Braves to rally from a four-run deficit to hand the Marlins a crushing 8-7 defeat that essentially ended their playoff chances.